Tens of thousands of people in Peru have taken to the streets in the capital, Lima, to protest violence against women in the South American country.
On Saturday, Peruvians in their thousands staged a protest rally in the country’s capital, Lima. The rally brought together activists, artists, high-ranking politicians, including the president, and citizens who voiced their anger at what they say is the indifference of the judicial system toward the mistreatment of women.
The demonstrators, as many as 50,000 by some estimates, chanted slogans and held banners and placards reading, “We are the voice of those who don’t have one.”
The demonstration was held following complaints by women’s rights groups of lenient sentences meted out to perpetrators of sexual violence against women.
“I have come to protest against the mistreatment of women, and above all else, to help ensure that the government, in some way — God would know how — realize this is an urgent matter and something must be done,” said a protester.
On average, 10 women are murdered in Peru every month, while official figures indicate a further 20 are victims of attempted femicide, according to Ana María Romero, the Peruvian minister for women’s rights, who took part in the Saturday rally.
“This march is a cry against impunity, it’s a cry for equality and for the decent treatment of women,” Romero said.
National surveys show that almost 40 percent of Peruvian women experience physical and sexual violence in their lives and, if psychological and verbal abuse is included, the number will go up to 70 percent in both rural and urban areas.
In the march, “we are going to ask for facilities for women to denounce violence because abuse flourishes in an environment where complaints cannot be made and the blows are absorbed in silence — and this is not how it should be,” said Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who attended the rally with his wife.